Five of the planets in our solar system will appear in a line across the early morning sky this month, astronomers say. It’s a sky spectacle that won’t be seen again for nearly 20 years.
And you don’t need a telescope to enjoy it.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are lining up in the pre-dawn sky, a planetary procession that could be seen above the eastern horizon every morning through the end of June, AccuWeather said.
The parade of planets will be best seen about 45-60 minutes before sunrise on cloud-free mornings through then.
“The delightful view of all five naked-eye planets will greet early risers throughout the month of June,” Sky and Telescope magazine said. “While seeing two or three planets close together (in what’s known as a conjunction) is a rather common occurrence, seeing five is somewhat more rare.
“And what’s even more remarkable about this month’s lineup is that the planets are arranged in their natural order from the sun,” the magazine noted.
Throughout the month viewers could see the five planets stretching across the sky from low in the east to higher in the south.
Mercury will be tougher to spot, according to Sky and Telescope: “Early in the month, viewers will need an unobstructed eastern horizon as well as binoculars to potentially see the little world. As the month wears on, Mercury climbs higher and brightens significantly, making it easier to see, and thus completing the planetary lineup.”
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The best day to see the spectacle will likely be the morning of June 24, weather permitting, as the planetary parade will be joined by the waning crescent moon.
This is three days after the summer solstice, which is June 21.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will not appear in this order again from the perspective of the Earth until August of 2040, AccuWeather said.